US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming “tremendous anger” and “hostility” from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any “foolish or reckless acts,” AFP reports.
In a letter to Kim, Trump announced he would not go ahead with the high-stakes meeting set for June 12 in Singapore, and would instead pursue Washington’s “maximum pressure campaign” through sanctions on Kim’s regime.
Just before Trump announced the cancellation of the talks, North Korea declared it had “completely” dismantled its nuclear test site, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed by the isolated regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit.
But the chances of success for the talks, which would have been an unprecedented face-to-face between a US and North Korean leader that Washington hoped would result in full denuclearization of the North, had recently been thrown into doubt on both sides.
I have decided to terminate the planned Summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world… pic.twitter.com/jT0GfxT0Lc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
Trump’s announcement — which prompted South Korea’s president to convene crisis talks of his top security advisors — came one day after Pyongyang hardened its rhetoric by attacking Vice President Mike Pence as “ignorant and stupid.”
“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” read Trump’s letter to Kim, released by the White House.
“The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,” he said.
The US leader brandished the threat of America’s nuclear might in his letter, writing: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
And in later comments from the White House, Trump warned that South Korea and Japan stood ready to respond, along with the United States, “should foolish or reckless acts be taken by North Korea.”
“In the meantime, our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign will continue,” Trump added.